DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - November 13, 2015

DC Dispatch

Updated ‘Strategy on American Innovation’ Released
(Highlights Lab-to-Market and tech transfer efforts)

The Administration released: its latest Strategy for American Innovation (2015) document in late October. From the press release, “[T]he Strategy, first issued in 2009, provides an overview of Administration efforts to ensure America continues to lead as the world’s most innovative economy, to develop the industries of the future, and to harness innovation to help address our Nation’s most important challenges. … The Strategy being released today has three core components that focus on:

  • The importance of investing in research and development (R&D) and the other building blocks of long-term economic growth, instead of locking in harmful sequestration cuts.
  • Strategic areas from advanced vehicles to precision medicine where focused effort can advance national priorities and help create shared prosperity.
  • New efforts to make the Federal government more innovative to improve performance and create a better environment for innovation by the private sector and civil society.”

Of particular interest to the tech transfer community are the sections on ‘Lab-to-Market’, where federal lab tech transfer efforts are noted (p. 46), and the section on ‘Harnessing the Creativity of the American People Through Incentive Prizes’ (p. 66). (Original Sources: White House web site).

News from USPTO

New Regional Offices in San Jose and Dallas Opened

The USPTO has now opened: its fourth and final regional office in four years. From the press release, “[T]he USPTO announced in July 2012 – when opening its first regional office in Detroit, Michigan - plans to create three more regional offices across every continental U.S. time zone. The Rocky Mountain Regional Office was opened in Denver in 2014. The Silicon Valley Regional Office was opened last month in San Jose, California. The Texas Regional Office is the last in the series of offices to be opened.” (Original Sources: USPTO web site)


Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative

A blog post from USPTO Leadership: highlights the status of the PTO’s Patent Quality Initiative. From the post, “[W]e asked for your help on how we can best improve [patent] quality—and you responded. Since announcing the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative earlier this year, we received over 1,200 comments and extensive feedback during our first-ever Patent Quality Summit and roadshows, as well as invaluable direct feedback from our examining corps. This feedback has been tremendously helpful in shaping the direction of our efforts. First, we are preparing to launch a Clarity of the Record Pilot, under which examiners will include as part of the prosecution record definitions of key terms, important claim constructions, and more detailed reasons for the allowance and rejection of claims. Based on the information we learn from this pilot, we plan to develop best examiner and applicant practices for enhancing the clarity of the record. We also will be launching a new wave of Clarity of the Record Training in the coming months emphasizing the benefits and importance of making the record clear and how to achieve greater clarity. … Second, we are Transforming Our Review Data Capture Process to ensure that reviews of an examiner’s work product by someone in the USPTO will follow the same process and access the same facets of examination. … The end results will be the (1) ability to provide more targeted and relevant training to our examiners with much greater precision, (2) increased consistency in work product across the entire examination corps, and (3) greater transparency in how the USPTO evaluates examiners’ work product.” See the link for more details. (Original Sources: USPTO Leadership blog)

New House Speaker on S&T

Newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI): “brings a record of leading a bipartisan budget effort that provided relief from spending cuts at the science agencies, although he has also proposed multiple federal budgets that would have imposed cuts to discretionary spending, from which R&D is funded.” As noted in an AIP article, “[I]n some cases, he has opposed federal support for science facilities and areas of research he believes are wasteful, at risk of mismanagement, or not government’s proper role. …
While Ryan has said little about scientific research during his bid for the speakership or in the short time that has elapsed since his election, a politician’s past record is usually the best indicator of his or her future positions, and Ryan’s record has been mixed on science. In some cases he has opposed funding for major projects of importance to the physical sciences community. … Ryan has also frequently stated his opposition to investing federal dollars in applied energy research, especially in promoting specific energy technologies such as renewables. Ryan’s position is that it is not the government’s role to “pick winners and losers” in the energy marketplace. … [However] Ryan has articulated support, through his budget blueprints, for government funding of basic research. It is not clear, however, whether those budgets in practice would have led to such support.” See the full article for more clues to how the new Speaker may approach S&T issues. (Original Sources: AIP web site)

Budget (and Debt Limit) Deal Reached
(Now law – but CR still in place for the moment)

In early November the President signed: into law “a bipartisan budget bill that avoids a catastrophic U.S. default and puts off the next round of fighting over federal spending and debt until after next year's presidential and congressional elections.” From an article in US News, “[O]bama praised the rare bipartisan cooperation behind the deal, saying that 2-year agreement that funds the government through the 2017 fiscal year puts the government on a responsible path. … The legislation raises the limit on the government's debt through March 2017, pushing reconsideration of what in recent years has become a contentious issue until after the elections for the White House and Congress in November 2016. The measure also sets federal spending through the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, and eases strict caps on spending by providing an additional $80 billion, split evenly between military and domestic programs. The Appropriations committees must write legislation to reflect the spending and they face a Dec. 11 deadline to finish the work (my emphasis)”. See an AIP summary on the bill here for more details. (Original Sources: US News web site, AIP web site)

Note: The DC Dispatch is a periodic update of selected items of interest to the FLC and technology transfer community -- i.e., current legislation, trends, reports, policy and other developments potentially affecting technology transfer or related activities -- designed to keep the community informed of relevant issues on a timely basis. Information is gleaned directly from a variety of sources (newsletters, email alerts, web sites, direct participation at events from the FLC DC Representative’s office, etc.) -- with original sources, contacts and links provided.

Contact: Gary K. Jones, FLC DC Representative, gkjones.ctr@federallabs.org

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